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Toronto police Carib Carnival

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Toronto police celebrate 2017 Caribbean Carnival with kick off event

By Hailey Salvian, From CBC News

The Toronto Police Service held its annual Caribbean Carnival kick off at police headquarters
Posted: Jul 26, 2017 4:51 PM ET Last Updated: Jul 26, 2017 5:08 PM ET

Toronto police held their annual Caribbean Carnival kick off at the force’s headquarters on Wednesday.

The 2017 Carnival was launched at Nathan Phillips Square on Tuesday, July 11, but the Toronto Police Service has had a launch event of its own for many years now.

50th anniversary of the Toronto Caribbean Carnival kicks off

50 years later, the beat goes on for the city’s Caribbean festival

How the Caribbean Carnival has changed over the years

On Wednesday, several guests, including Mayor John Tory, spoke about the importance of the city’s Caribbean celebrations.

Tory said the police kick off event shows the police’s support of the festival.

“And it highlights the importance of the Carnival to the city of Toronto, the fact that we have an event like this at police headquarters just underlines that,” Tory said.

Toronto Police Chief Mark Saunders was also in attendance, along with a police services board member and a member of the festival’s management committee.

The event included Caribbean music, dancing, food and the Carnival’s distinctive outfits.

Formerly known as “Caribana,” the festival celebrates Caribbean culture throughout July and ends during the August long weekend, when the annual parade takes over city streets.

This year, the event is considered is especially important because it marks the festival’s 50th anniversary.

CBC Toronto’s host Dwight Drummond spoke at the event, saying the festival has had a long history.

“Caribana was started in 1967 as part of Canada’s 100th birthday,” he told the crowd.

“It was a gift from Toronto’s Caribbean community for its centennial birthday. Now, it is the gift that keeps on giving, as it returns every year, growing bigger and bigger, bringing together the diversity of Toronto.”

The first festival drew about 1,000 people. In more recent years, it has consistently drawn more than a million to the city.

The Carnival festivities began on July 17. The annual parade is set Saturday, August 5.

A group of kids at Toronto Police Headquarters Wednesday for the annual TPS Caribbean Carnival kick-off (Barry Smith/CBC).
Caribbean Carnival at TPS The distinctive outfits are one of the carnival’s signature elements. (Barry Smith/CBC)

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